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Game Title: Francis Drake
Date: July 8, 2016
Number of Players: 5 (plays 3-5, 2 or 6 with expansion)
Playing Time: 2.5 hours (including set-up, rule discussion, game and tear down)
Mechanics: Card Drafting, Hand Management, Action Point Allowance System
We got in a five player game of Francis Drake at Palmer Game Night. It was an interesting mix of a few new players and three seasoned ones.
We did use the purple player’s tokens that came with the expansion. I don’t think I’ve played a game of Drake yet since receiving it last year as purple seems to be a widely popular color.
One thing I love about this game is the way it switches out tiles for specific player counts. Two players are able to go to some spots in a six player game where only one player is allowed there with a lower player count. While it can be bothersome to grab the locations necessary for the specific player count, it is worth the effort.
The game takes place over three periods, or three sailing sessions. On your turn, you choose a location in Plymouth to gather supplies for your journey. You need barrels to sail, guns to fight Galleons and Spanish forts, crew to attack towns and forts and trade goods if you wish to gather goods. To start, you can pick any location you want, whether it be the first available one or one farther down the boardwalk. But, once you go past a spot, you cannot come back to it. You are not allowed to go to same location twice either.
At the end of the pier, you can elect to grab one item – a barrel, gun or crew member. Of all the times I have played this game, I finally realized that you do not need to stop here and can instead sail a bit earlier!
There are some special locations along the way too like the Pinnacle boats which allow you to sneak in while avoiding guns or the Governor and Admiral that allows you to place the tiles next to boats and forts.
Once everyone has placed their boat in the harbor, you set sail. Here you decide where to place your numbered chits. Everything will resolve in turn order and then by number on the mission discs. (Exception: the Golden Hind goes first if this location was chosen by a player).
Players then return to Plymouth and place their ships in the new turn order. Then you resolve points for conquests – defeating a city, fort and galleon. Then you reset the board for voyages two and three.
This game was played with five players. Because we had two new players in the game, I tried to remind them of the items they really should pick up. For example, barrels. The last five player game I played we had a player that forgot to grab any until the end of the pier. In a five player game, not everyone will get to upgrade their ship. Of course you have the option of turning in your investor tile in order to do so once per game.
The game is a give and take. Do you want to grab trade goods and complete that quest or would you rather try to successfully conquer a Galleon, town and fort? I’ve yet to play a game where anyone has managed to get all three conquests each period and also grab four different trade goods. This game was no different.
This game took about 2 ½ hours to set up, go over rules and play. We probably could have done it a half an hour faster but I didn’t want to push the newbies.
In the end the score was as follows:
Nicole – 129 points
Laura – 124 points
Mike – 116 points
Mak – 114 points
Stacy – 94 points
DNA results:Scottish, Dutch, English, Irish, German, French, Iberian Peninsula = 100% American!
Some high scores, we usually a score in the 90's will win the game in my plays. This game is in my top 10.
- Last edited Fri Sep 9, 2016 3:04 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Tue Sep 6, 2016 6:25 pm
I've played (I think) four times now with 5 players and we've always had high scores. Higher even than a 3 or 4 player game sometimes. I agree, it's one of my top 10 games as well.